Popular for his stint in the US-based World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as The Great Khali, Dalip Singh Rana on Tuesday said he is ready to fight anyone challenging him in the first-ever WWE-like shows that his company will hold in Gurgaon on October 8 and in Panipat on October 12. The state government has exempted the shows from entertainment tax.
Khali, accompanied by Haryana sports minister Anil Vij at a meet-the-press programme, said 10 men and four women from Haryana and Panjab, among 35 wresters from India, and 15 from abroad will fight in the events. “I am ready to fight anyone, including The Undertaker (top WWE star),” Khali said.
Vij said it was Khali’s private event — organised by his Jalandhar-based Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE) — though the government had given tax-exemption “to promote sports in the state”. He has held similar shows in Uttarakhand.
“Haryana is one state that loves combat sports. In fact, majority of the kids who learn wrestling from me are from Haryana,” said Khali in a press statement issued later.
To a question, Khali, who hails from Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, said he has about 250 students at the CWE academy. “Though I also wish to set up an academy in my home state, I am unhappy with the red tape in the bureaucracy. Nonetheless, the state government had shown interest in it and chief minister Virbhadra Singh has also assured of all help.”
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Asked about WWE and CWE being scripted; more entertainment than actual sport, Khali responded, “Can a field hockey player demand to remove ice from an ice-hockey arena? Like they are seen as different sports, wrestling as such and the WWE-like shows should be seen as different.”
To a question about adopting his native village in Himachal Pradesh, he said he wished to but “too much of red-tapism” anguished him. “Aap wrestling kar lo, main gaon adopt kar loonga. (You can go wrestle, while I will adopt the village). Kya aap chahte hain main apne gaon mein chhote-chhote bachon ko godi mein khilaun (Do you want me to only have children play in my lap?)”